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                                                       Calendar No. 437
107th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     107-172

======================================================================



 
                 GUAM WAR CLAIMS REVIEW COMMISSION ACT

                                _______
                                

                 June 24, 2002.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 308]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 308) to establish the Guam War Claims 
Review Commission, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the Act 
do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 308 is to establish a Federal 
commission to determine whether there was parity between the 
war claims paid to residents of Guam compared with those paid 
to similarly affected United States citizens or nationals in 
other areas occupied by Japanese military forces during World 
War II, and to advise Congress whether additional compensation 
may be necessary.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    On December 8, 1941, military forces of the Empire of Japan 
invaded Guam and seized control of the island. At the time, 
Guam was an unincorporated territory of the United States 
administered by the United States Navy. Its 22,000 residents 
were United States nationals. The residents of Guam suffered 
personal injury, forced labor, forced marches, internment, and 
executions. Yet they remained loyal to the United States and 
risked their lives to support the allied war effort.
    Efforts to compensate the residents of Guam for their 
suffering began shortly after the end of hostilities. The Guam 
Meritorious Claims Act of November 15, 1945 authorized the 
Secretary of the Navy to appoint a claims commission to pay war 
claims not in excess of $5,000. The commission had to forward 
claims in excess of $5,000 to Congress, which had to approve 
them. The Act required claims to be filed within one year. The 
short time frame for filing claims may have prevented deserving 
claimants from receiving compensation.
    In 1947, the Secretary of the Navy sent a commission headed 
by Ernest M. Hopkins to assess the war claims payment situation 
on Guam, among other things. The Hopkins commission recommended 
that new legislation be enacted to provide for the payment of 
claims up to $10,000, but no action was taken on the 
commission's recommendations.
    The War Claims Act of 1948 provided compensation for 
``civilian American citizens'' captured on Guam or any other 
territory or possession of the United States attacked or 
invaded by Japan. It did not, however, provide compensation for 
the residents of Guam, who were United States nationals, but 
not ``American citizens,'' prior to 1950. Congress amended the 
War Claims Act in 1962 to extend compensation to United States 
nationals for property loss, but specifically excluded claims 
for property located on the island of Guam.
    In view of the patchwork of war claims laws, which provided 
different treatment for different groups of persons at 
different times, H.R. 308 is needed to examine whether the 
relief provided to the residents of Guam was on a par with that 
provided to similarly affected United States citizens or 
nationals in other areas occupied by the military forces of the 
Empire of Japan.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 308 was introduced by Representative Underwood on 
January 30, 2001 and referred to the House Committee on 
Resources. The House of Representatives passed the bill by 
voice vote on March 13, 2001.
    During the 106th Congress, the House of Representatives 
passed a similar measure, H.R. 755. It was referred to the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate. A 
similar measure, S. 524, which was introduced by Senator 
Inouye, was referred to the Committee on Judiciary. No further 
action was taken on either H.R. 755 or S. 524.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a 
hearing on H.R. 308 on July 27, 2001. The Committee considered 
H.R. 308 at its business meeting on June 5, 2002, and ordered 
the bill favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on June 5, 2002, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 308 
without amendment.

                           SECTION-BY-SECTION

    Section 1 provides a short title.
    Section 2 establishes the Guam War Claims Review Commission 
and provides for the appointment and compensation of its 
members.
    Section 3 authorizes the Commission to appoint an executive 
director and other employees. In accordance with section 3161 
of title 5, United States Code, the executive director and 
other employees are in the excepted service of the civil 
service.
    Section 4 directs the Secretary of the Interior to provide 
the Commission with administrative support services on a 
reimbursable basis.
    Section 5 prescribes the duties of the Commission.
    Section 6(a) authorizes the Chairman of the Commission to 
exercise its executive and administrative powers and to 
delegate such powers to the Commission's staff.
    Section 6(b) authorizes the Commission to hold hearings and 
administer oaths and affirmations.
    Section 6(c) authorizes the Commission to procure the 
temporary and intermittent services of experts and consultants.
    Section 6(d) authorizes the head of any Federal department 
or agency to provide support to the Commission in carrying out 
its duties.
    Section 7 provides that the Commission will terminate 30 
days after it submits its report to Congress.
    Section 8 authorizes $500,000 to be appropriated to carry 
out the Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 14, 2002.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 308, the Guam War 
Claims Review Commission Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 308--Guam War Claims Review Commission Act

    H.R. 308 would establish the Guam War Claims Review 
Commission to consider restitution for those individuals who 
resided on the island of Guam, a territory of the United 
States, during its occupation by the Japanese in World War II. 
Under H.R. 308, the five commission members would establish 
eligibility requirements, determine the number of individuals 
who meet such requirements, and estimate the total amount that 
would be necessary to adequately compensate them for damages 
suffered during Japan's occupation. The commission would have 
nine months to report its findings to the Congress. To fund the 
costs of the commission, the act would authorize the 
appropriation of $500,000.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amount, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 308 would cost $500,000 in 
fiscal year 2003. Because the act would not affect direct 
spending or receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. 
The act does not authorize the payment of restitution; such 
authority would require a separate act of the Congress. H.R. 
308 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would have no 
significant impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 308.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    Any additional personal information (other than information 
already available in existing archives) will be collected on a 
voluntary basis. Therefore, there should be no adverse impact 
on personal privacy.
    Little, if any additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of H.R. 308.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On July 25, 2001, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth executive views on H.R. 308. These reports have not been 
received at the time the report was filed. The testimony 
provided by the Department of the Interior at the Committee 
hearing follows:

Statement of Christopher Kearney, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy 
         and International Affairs, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, it is a pleasure 
for me to appear before you today to discuss the 
Administration's views on H.R. 308--the Guam War Claims Review 
Commission Act.


            H.R. 308--GUAM WAR CLAIMS REVIEW COMMISSION ACT


    H.R. 308, the Guam War Claims Review Commission Act, would 
establish a five-member commission to: (1) Examine whether or 
not Guam War Claims compensation paid to residents of Guam was 
on parity with compensation provided to United States citizens 
or nationals in territory occupied by the Imperial Japanese 
military forces during World War II, (2) advise on additional 
compensation for the people of Guam, and (3) submit a report, 
including comments and recommendations, within nine months to 
the Secretary of the Interior and relevant congressional 
committees.
Background
    Hours after December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the 
Japanese attacked and captured Guam. The Japanese were in full 
control of Guam until 1944. The people of Guam suffered during 
the occupation. Yet, they remained loyal to the United States, 
often risking their own personal safety to aid the American war 
effort and American military personnel left on the island.
    In recognition of the suffering of these United States 
nationals, the first war claims act passed by the Congress was 
for Guam. It was called the Guam Meritorious Claims Act of 
November 11, 1945. It authorized the formation of a claims 
commission to make payments not to exceed $5,000 for damage, 
loss or destruction of public or private property resulting 
from hostilities or hostile occupation or non-combat activities 
of United States armed forces or civilian personnel. If a claim 
exceeded $5,000 or was for death or personal injury, it was to 
be forwarded to the Congress for payment out of appropriations.
    In early 1947, a delegation headed by Ernest M. Hopkins was 
sent by Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal to assess the 
war claims payment situation on Guam, which was administered at 
the time by the Navy. The March 25, 1947 Hopkins delegation 
report stated:

          The Guamanian people rendered heroic service to the 
        Nation in the recent war and displayed great courage, 
        fortitude and loyalty. Such services, equivalent to 
        service on the field of battle, should be recognized 
        both collectively and in specific cases, individually.

    The Hopkins delegation called for legislation to pay all 
claims ``on the spot'' in Guam, including death and personal 
injury, and raising the limit to $10,000. The Hopkins authors 
also recommended further relief for any person who had 
voluntarily reduced his claim to $5,000. No action was taken on 
the Hopkins report.
    A year later, the Congress passed the War Claims Act of 
1948. Among other provisions was one to compensate ``civilian 
American citizens'' who were captured at Midway, Guam, Wake 
Island, the Philippine Islands, or any territory or possession 
of the United States attacked or invaded by the Imperial 
Japanese Government. Payments were made to persons who were 
interned by the Japanese and to widows and children of persons 
who died in internment. Virtually all the residents of Guam 
were ``nationals'' of the United States at that time, but not 
``citizens.'' Thus, the 1948 Act did not apply to most World 
War II residents of Guam.
    The 1962 amendment to the War Claims Act of 1948 provided 
for payments to ``nationals of the United States'' for loss, 
destruction, or damage to property ``except the Island of 
Guam.'' The 1962 amendments did not compensate for death or 
personal injury, except on the high seas.
    What we have here is a patchwork of war claims laws 
focusing on differing groups of persons at differing times with 
relief for differing categories of suffering.
Administration position
    The Administration supports H.R. 308, with a change that I 
will address shortly.
    We believe that the central reason for this legislation is 
reflected in item (4) of section 5 of the bill. Item (4) calls 
for a commission to determine whether or not there was parity 
of war claims paid to residents of Guam as compared with awards 
paid to other similarly affected United States citizens or 
nationals in territory occupied by the Imperial Japanese 
military forces during World War II. Examination of the history 
of war claims payments is warranted given questions involving 
the administration of the Guam Meritorious Claims Act and 
subsequent claims acts. By examining the payments under the 
various acts, the commission will be able to determine how 
claimants on Guam fared vis-a-vis United States citizens and 
other nationals with regard to different categories of 
suffering and deprivation for which awards were made.
    I would now like to turn to item (5) of section 5, the one 
key area of concern we have with the bill. The term ``people of 
Guam'' and the listing of categories in item (5) would 
introduce new language not included in existing World War II 
war claims acts. Moreover, item (5) is redundant of item (6), 
which directs the commission to issue a report, ``including any 
comments and recommendations for action.'' If the commission 
believes that ``additional compensation'' should be paid, based 
on analysis of the World War II war claims laws and information 
from Guam, it can include such a recommendation in its report. 
The Administration, therefore, suggests that item (5) of 
section 5 of H.R. 308 be removed from the bill.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 308 as ordered 
reported.